Tuesday 25 October 2011

Double Bill Mini Musings: Creepy kids, and long distances...

Wake Wood:
Seemingly from the company that owns Hammer, but not directly from the famous studio themselves, this UK chiller comes from the tradition of such 'creepy folk in a creepy rural town' films as The Wicker Man. In a somewhat rushed intro, we find a young couple have moved to the titular town after the death of their daughter - however, one night they discover that all is not as it seems in Wake Wood. A ceremony in which the dead can be brought temporarily back to life is overseen by the townsfolk - and rather readily accepted by the couple.

Wake Wood is a decent chiller, however the main problem with it is that the protagonists are all-too-ready to accept quite a far-fetched ritual as actually possible. There's no "you're a nutter, what are you on about?" period of disbelief or even mockery - in fact they hop on-board with ease. Indeed the general pace of the film feels too rushed - we don't have enough time to really get to know the central couple, nor their circumstances in life, nor the town of Wake Wood itself. A creeping sense of realisation - a build up to a shocking discovery - is sorely missing.

The premise is a good one, and while it does occasionally stray unsuitably into gore-flick territory, and the score is at times intrusive or against the grain, it's an admirable effort. Despite being in too much of a rush, not exploring the other residents, and the town itself, to the extent that it should have, there is definitely something there to dig up for fans of The Wicker Man - and other such fare.

Going The Distance:
I wasn't all that interested in seeing this, but I caught a couple of minutes of it on Sky Movies when flicking around - and I quickly found myself chuckling. So over to Sky Anytime it was, and I gave this Drew Barrymore/Justin Long romcom a spin - and in short, I enjoyed it quite a bit. A pleasant surprise was the script - it was breezy, bright, and appealed effortlessly to both male and female demographics at different times, and in different ways, throughout. It even has a dirty mind at times - but not in a sleazy or gross way - and what's more the actors all fit together well ... indeed, Barrymore & Long's real-life relationship shines through to afford their characters a sense of truth that you don't often find in romcoms.

Although there are romcoms, and then there's this which - as I've already said - effortlessly appeals to men and women simultaneously, but also appeals to the different sides within each gender. Relationship drama, career woes, gross-out male banter, frank sex talk, and some genuinely hilarious (and well performed) moments (see the impromptu moment of passion on the dinner table) - it's all catered for. Going The Distance is surprisingly rather well crafted, and properly entertaining to boot.

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